TRRC concern over stolen babies

May 5, 2022, 11:46 AM | Article By: Ali Jaw

The Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC), which was set-up to investigate and establish the truth concerning human rights violations in the former regime of Yaya Jammeh, has noted that there is possibility that babies disappeared during the Jammeh regime.

A TRRC witness had told the Commission that he was told by a close ally of Yaya Jammeh that Jammeh used the purported babies for spiritual sacrifices.

"The testimony by Sillaba Samateh on the case of the missing babies is of great concern to the Commission but could not be investigated," the TRRC report stated.

The witness told the Commission that some babies were brought to the NIA in boxes by soldiers on three occasions while he was at the NIA.

"According to him on the first occasion, Nfally Jabang who seemed to be in a hurry came to NIA and said to him “help me and take this box to Numo’s office because I am going away right now.” He said he saw that the content in the box was moving and asked Nfally Jabang what was in the box."

"He told him that there was a baby in the box. He then took the box to Numo’s office without opening it but it was moving."

"After a few weeks according to the witness the same Nfally Jabang came with another box in the morning. He again asked him to take the box to Numo Kujabi’s office and this time around he heard the baby crying in the box."

The witness further testified before the Commission that he was then cautioned by Numo Kujabi who told him: “whatever object you bring into this office never talk about it and never let anyone ever hear it from you.” So he placed the box in his office and left."

"On the third occasion, a man came with two boxes and again asked for his help. This time he held one of the boxes and the man held the other. They both went to Numo’s office together where they placed the boxes and left."

"He further testified that following the arrest and detention of Nfally Jabang at the NIA, he told him that the babies were brought to the NIA for onward transmission to the former President Yahya Jammeh."

A vehicle from state house, the witness added would come to collect them and take them to Yaya Jammeh in Kanilai.

He also said that Nfally Jabang told him that the babies were taken from the hospital but did not specify the hospital.

"While the Commission was initially skeptical about the credibility of the case of the missing babies as there was no public outcry neither had mothers/ families complained about not seeing their babies after delivering in hospital, the skepticism was allied by the testimony of BA57. He confirmed to the Commission that this incident did take place in The Gambia."

"A close ally of the former President, Benedict Jammeh had confided in him that babies stolen from the hospital and were used for spiritual sacrifice by the former President Yahya Jammeh."

"Two of the babies were buried at the entrance of Mile II Prison and another two at the pillars at State House."

"Considering the evidences received from the testimonies of TRRC witnesses, which suggests that babies were disappeared, the TRRC has tasked government to establishment a taskforce comprising seasoned investigators, medical personnel, social welfare officers and forensic experts and wildlife officers to investigate the allegations of missing babies (the identities of these babies, circumstances of their disappearance and where they disappeared to and by whom)."